Expelled Diplomats Leave Afghanistan
Two European diplomats were expelled from Afghanistan earlier today.
The BBC reported:
Two diplomats accused by Afghan officials of making contacts with the Taleban have left the country after talks to stop their expulsions failed.
One is a high-ranking British UN employee, Mervyn Patterson. The other is the acting head of the EU mission in Afghanistan, Irishman Michael Semple.
The Kabul-based pair were accused of posing a threat to national security during a visit to Helmand province.
The Helmand governor says he warned the diplomats not to meet the Taleban.
the governor of Helmand province Asadullah Wafa said he had warned the diplomats not to meet the Taleban who are “fighting us and training suicide bombers”.
“I asked Michael (Semple) ‘Why are you coming here?’ and he said ‘I have come to see the Taleban and speak with the Taleban as part of the ongoing process,” Mr Wafa told journalists in Helmand.
“I told Michael the information I have about you is that you are supporting those people who right now are really fighting the government. I said that I am the governor of the province and you should share this information with me.
“I had told him three or four times to bring permission from the government and asked him ‘Why are you meeting the Taleban and what will you talk to them about?’ He just laughed and said nothing. After that I spoke to the central government and they said they had not given (the diplomats) any permission.”
Mr Wafa also told the BBC’s Pashto service that an Afghan travelling with them had almost $20,000 (£10,000) on him which he could not explain.
A number of Afghan nationals are still being held by the intelligence service in connection with the incident.
The Afghan government alleged that Patterson and Semple made cash payments to the Taliban.
EU and UN officials fear the loss of two such experienced officials could hinder Afghanistan’s rebuilding and development…
Or, maybe not?